Restaurant Review: Livestock

I had to pick up my brother’s medical records at a Quezon City hospital today and since traffic was horrendous, as usual, we arrived in the Quezon City area almost noon.  We decided to grab a quick lunch before heading to the hospital since the lady at the medical records was kind enough to warn us ahead of time that there was one document still missing and that she would text me if it was ready after lunch.

B and I decided to try Livestock since my sis-in-law has been raving about their so-tender-you-can-use-a-popsicle-stick crispy pata.  When we arrived, parking was easy enough as there were few people on a weekday noon. I was happy to find out that El Cangrejo was also in the same block as Livestock…this was another restaurant that I knew my husband would love. We were ushered in by a friendly server into an almost empty restaurant and promptly shown to our table.

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The Livestock menu is really cute…with the pig drawing on the face of the menu.  I have this affinity for pigs, or rather, my family has an affinity for pigs…back when I was little, we even have a collection of pig and piglet figurines and decors.

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Place setting…so ready to eat!

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Melt-in-your Mouth Crispy Pata (Php650 + SC)

Verdict:  The crispy pata was really tender, not as melt in your mouth as touted by sis-in-law or the menu but more tender than most crispy patasI’ve eaten.  It certain is bigger too…big enough for me to wonder if this was a boar.  And I am pretty sure it was when I bit into the meat because boar have distinctive smell when cooked.  In this case, while the pata was huge, it certainly wasn’t good for 3-4 persons since the bone was huge as well. The husband loved the crispy pata although he says it’s probably not something we’d order for our rare crispy pata Sunday dinners since it was too expensive (we usually order from Andok’s which is only Php300).

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Grilled Lamb Ribs (Php480 + SC)

Verdict:  This was a really good dish, tender and juicy. We initially ordered the 12-hour roast beef but they were out of this. A good non-pork option for us since we rarely order lamb when dining out.  i was surprised that we didn’t need to have mint jelly on the side.  I do wish they added a few more sticks of asparagus to offset the richness of the lamb.

Overall, Livestock is a good place for your crispy pata fix especially if there’s more than two of you dining.  It gets pretty pricey when there’s just two people and you get lesser chance to try out other dishes too.  Service is fast and friendly.  There’s the occasional fly that can pester you especially when the food arrives but nothing that the server can’t fix.

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Food Reviews: SM Makati Foodcourt – Hokkaido Takoyaki and BBQ Shack

Everytime we’re in Makati for some errands, we never get the chance to try the relatively new SM Makati foodcourt area because we always arrive at noon and by then the place is packed.  Today, we made it a point to finish earlier than usual and arrived at SM Makati by 11AM.

We got a chance to browse through BBQ Shack’s offerings as well as Hokkaido Takoyaki.

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We both ordered the 2pc pork bbq stick with rice for Php95 (3 sticks is Php125 and an additional Php10 for fried egg).  B decided not to get the fried egg since he saw a whole stack of fried eggs on the side…a big turn off given a food operator should know well enough that egg dishes are best cooked to order.

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2pc pork bbq stick with rice (Php95)

Verdict:  The bbq were really good, juicy and tender and surprisingly there was little fat.  The rice initially looked oily but didn’t taste so..in fact the flavor of the rice provided a good complement to the bbq pork flavor.  A bit more of the corn and carrots side would’ve been nice though.

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Hokkaid Takoyaki: 6pcs – Php119, 9pcs – Php159, 12pcs – Php199

Flavors: Original (Octopus), Bacon & Cheese, Kani Mozzarella, Scallops
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6pcs Original Octopus Takoyaki (PHp119)

Verdict:  It was very very good, Octopus pieces were generous.  The bonito flakes sprinkled on top of the takoyaki was a pleasant surprise, lending a salty dimension to the sweet takoyaki sauce.  Next time we’ll try the scallops.  While I liked Hokkaido Takoyaki, I wish they’d be more flexible about allowing customers to have at least 2 flavors for each order.

Food Review: Don’s Original Spanish Churros

 

For this overnight-trip-turned-daytrip to Tagaytay, we made Solenad 2/3 as our last stop on the way back to Manila.  We were still debating if we were going to stay in Tagaytay for the night or not (though we later decided not to).

Going around Solenad 2, we were pleasantly surprised to find the mall finished and some stores operational already.  One of the stalls that caught our attention was Don’s Original Spanish Churros.

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Don’s Original Spanish Churros Menu

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The server putting on her gloves.

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The regular churros is about the length of the girl’s open palm as you can see her measuring and cutting in the photo.

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Original and Cinnamon (Mix) Churros) – Php79

We ordered the 8 sticks  of long churros in two flavors – Original and Cinnamon with the Chocolate dipping sauce.  The container is similar to Churreria la lola’s with 2 dipping cup holders.

2015-11-10 15.52.42The back of the churros holder.

Verdict:  I loved the crunchiness of Don’s Spanish churros, I think it could go for a bit more crisp on the inside so maybe lower the fryer a bit?  The chocolate dipping sauce while good (not too sweet) is too liquid…I wish it was more thick like Cioccolata (at Bayleaf Hotel Intramuros).  But this is  definitely a more inexpensive churros fix compared to La Lola (though I haven’t tried it yet)

Food Review: Razon’s Halo-Halo

One of our stops during our sudden Tagaytay daytrip was Razon’s for you guessed it – their halo-halo.  I know, you can get the same Razon’s halo-halo back in Manila but after that disappointing lunch at Rose & Grace, we both needed a pick me up.

What set this particular Razon’s outlet was that the server was really proactive.  When we saw a dead fly in one of their food displays, he removed it and apologized.  He was very efficient in taking our order and when he served our halo-halo, he served us 2 glasses of water as well without being asked. Upon serving our orders, he introduced himself and told us to just call him if we needed anything else.

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Razon’s Halo-Halo (Php105)

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What I liked about this particular branch is that the halo-halo serving size is exactly how it was years ago.  The right balance of milk and ice…and more importantly, two slices of creamy leche flan. I wouldn’t mind going back to Tagaytay just to visit this particular Razon’s outlet.

 

Restaurant Review: Rose & Grace Restaurant

B and I decided at the last minute to just take the day off and head to Tagaytay.  We had initially planned to purchase a Deal Grocer voucher for one of those Tagaytay Hotels but when I called the hotel we wanted to go to, the receptionist seemed unsure how soon we can redeem the voucher.  I couldn’t remember either since the last time I had bought something from a group buying site was about 4 years ago.  I sent an email to Deal Grocer but found out they resume office at 10AM.  So we decided to be adventurous, pack an overnight bag and just head off to Tagaytay.

Along the way, we decided to drop by the Petron Station along SLEX and get the free RFID sticker (paid for the required minimum initial load of Php500).

Since we ended up deciding not to stay overnight at Tagaytay, we decided to just check out the outlet stores in Sta Rosa and have lunch at one of hubby’s favorite stops, Rose & Grace Restaurant. Surprisingly for a lunch (though a weekday), there were only few customers around.

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Interiors of Rose & Grace

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Bulalo (Php405)

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We order our usual Bulalo and lechon kawali, 2 orders of rice and a can of coke to share.  The first bulalo served had no bone marrow so hubby requested for a different one and the server graciously gave in.

The last time we ate there was a year ago and back then, the soup was tasty.  This time, all I could taste was this commercial taste coming from beef bouillon which is really disappointing. The lechon kawali, although had little fat, was too tough and the skin was not crispy.  From the looks of it, the pork was from an oversized old pig.

All in all a disappointing visit.  We definitely will need to find another place that would fix hubby’s bulalo craving.

Restaurant Review: Genki Sushi (Bonifacio Stopover)

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Since dinner at Genki Sushi was a last minute decision, we arrived at Bonifacio Stopover past 6PM.  Parking was easy to find across the building as office hours were over.2015-11-04 20.27.12

Outside Genki Sushi along BGC Stopover. Not much people waiting in line at 6PM.

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Inside Genki Sushi, the place is packed though…all tables that are being served by conveyor belt is filled up.  The farthest tables near the windows are actually regular table and there was one table vacant. Of course we didn’t come to just eat, we wanted the novelty experience of the food being served via conveyor belt.

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Once the server leads you to your table, you are given copies of the menu (the same ones posted on the wall as well as can be seen on the tab monitor).  Small plates, chopsticks and cups are also set on your table for your use. The server then orients you on what to do if it was your first visit.2015-11-04 19.15.26

The menu on the well (same menu given to you in case you’re seated at the far end and can’t see the wall menu or the tablet.  2015-11-04 19.13.57

Green tea powder besides the hot water faucet for you to make as much green tea as your heart desires.

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You just need to familiarize yourself with the Japanese terms (although there’s an English translation) used for each entree category. Once you place your order, you can no longer cancel it so make sure you entered the correct dish and the correct quantity.

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Our first orders have arrived! It’s a novelty to see the speedy little car on conveyor belt deliver your food.

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Spicy Tuna (Php80)

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Spicy Salmon (Php80)

I liked the spicy mayo of both the spicy tuna and the spicy salmon though I favor the latter more.  However with the price and only 2 servings plus there’s little salmon and tuna on the sushi, I felt this was not value for money at all.

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California Roll (Php150)

You can get better California rolls elsewhere for the same price with with a bigger serving portion.  Taste was nothing remarkable; not value for money.

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Lobster Salmon Roll (Php150)

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Spicy Salmon Roll (Php150)

The lobster salmon roll and the spicy salmon roll were good but again, not much filling for both.  There’s 3 pieces per order so it’s a bit more than the spicy rolls.

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Fried Gyoza (Php150)

Our worst order for the night.  The fried gyoza was tough and chewy.  There was too much wrapper and not enough filling.  It was also fried beyond golden.  Nothing remarkable and for the price, you might as well be better off just ordering those expensive sushi rolls.

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Shrimp Tempura (Php270)

While they did not mislead you with saying it was prawn tempura, we were still dismayed because upon dissecting (yes, we dissect our food especially shrimp/prawn tempura because we always want to check how big the shrimp or prawn is and if they cleaned it. In this case, it was all doughy tempura batter and tiny tiny shrimp.  The tempura sauce was served lukewarm and tasteless.  2015-11-04 19.38.59

Chirashi Don (Php420)

This was a good order, although for the price I still found the serving portion pitiful. It looked like a full bowl on the menu photos and in reality, it even looked decent; but when you dig into it you realize each item is a tiny portion and the rest is actually just rice. However, the taste and freshness of most of the components of the Chirashi Don almost made up for the disappointing serving size.  The only thing we didn’t like was the octopus which was really tough and chewy.

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Black Pepper Chicken Don (Php190)

Now our last and after-thought order (we ordered this just to fill out our tummys since none of our orders were really filling), the black pepper chicken don, was so good I was actually taken aback.  The peppery and spicy chicken was served hot and was just tasty.  It could do with a little less of the onions though.

Overall, I think one needs to have some sort of strategy when dining at Genki Sushi.  If you’re dining alone or with friends, you can start with the rice bowls to fill up your tummy as these are more value for money; then you can go along with the sushi rolls – those priced at Php80 are the most value for money as they either come in 2s/3s/4s and would come out to be around Php40 per piece on the average.  Of course if you’re there for the sushi rolls, just go for the salmon or tuna. I would tell you to just skip the shrimp tempura and the fried gyoza.  The novelty of getting served and taking your food from a conveyor belt is a winning factor but after the first visit, I personally am not inclined to return as I can get a better fix for my sushi cravings elsewhere for a better price.  I might visit Genki Sushi in Hong Kong or Japan just to compare how this one fares but otherwise nothing would encourage me to return to Genki Sushi (Manila).